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ARTICLES, WORLD

We stand with Florida victims against hatred

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Our thoughts and prayers are with the innocent victims and their families.

On Saturday night in Florida a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub and killed 50 people, with a further 53 injured.

Police killed the gunman, Omar Mateen, 29, a New York-born Florida resident and US citizen of Afghan descent. He had been questioned twice by FBI agents in recent years, according to the authorities.

Mateen’s former wife said he was emotionally and mentally disturbed with a violent temper, yet aspired to be a police officer.

Mateen had worked for the global security firm G4S for the past nine years, Mateen was an armed guard for a gated retirement community in South Florida, and had cleared two company background screenings, the latest in 2013, according to G4S.

First indications suggest that the attack was inspired by Islamic State militants, though there was no immediate evidence that Mateen had any real ties to the group, law enforcement officials said.

As the shooting rampage was unfolding, Mateen “made calls to 911 this morning in which he stated his allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State,” said Ronald Hopper, the FBI’s assistant special agent in charge on the case.

The ex-wife of the Orlando nightclub mass murderer said on Sunday that Omar Mateen was “mentally unstable and mentally ill.”

Sitora Yusifiy, speaking to reporters in Boulder, Colorado, said he former partner was bipolar and also had a history with steroids.

Pat Harrington, Director of Third Way commented: “This was an evil act which will be condemned by good people of all faiths and none. We have come a long way in overcoming hatred toward people on account of their sexuality. This shooting indicates that we have further to go. We should not shy away from condemning those who interpret Islam to justify such actions but nor should we make the mistake of thinking that all or even most Muslims would agree with them.  Further we should be aware that the ‘word of  God’ is often used as a justification for evil actions of men and not just by Salafist Muslims.  In this case it also seems that the gunman was mentally ill and had no formal ties to any organisation. All right-thinking people will feel sorrow over this event and people of all faiths should pray for the innocent victims and their families. Every time the Salafists raise their flag of hatred against gay people, women or other groups we must rip it down. Ultimately love has greater power than hate.”

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